Diving club members concerned over 'missing' board (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Waltham Forest Diving Club members say the council is neglecting the borough's young people by not replacing a 5m board at Waltham Forest Pool and Track as part of a £23million development
Parents of members of a diving club which has been teaching children for 34 years has criticised the council after it emerged a 5m board would not be included in a sports centre’s £23 million refurbishment.
Tomorrow will be the last time Waltham Forest Diving Club will use Waltham Forest Pool and Track in Walthamstow before it is bulldozed in August and replaced.
However, parents say it has learned that a 5m board, which it says is essential to attract interest in the sport and training, will not be replaced.
They also criticised the council for not properly consulting with the club and has started a petition calling for the board to become part of the plans.
Former chairman Ian Capes said: “They’ve taken a complete top down approach, thinking that they know best.
"When we got to the session is September they said that they will not replace the 5m board - no questions asked.
“We’re not asking for something we haven’t already got. The 5m board is so important to divers.
“In the public sessions people queue up to use it.
“To call it an Olympic borough and then downgrade the facilities is just awful.
“All of the decisions have been made behind closed doors.”
Mr Capes said Tom Daley’s diving partner in the 2012 Olympics, Peter Waterfield, started his career using the 5m board at the pool.
The club has been moved on a temporary basis to the Aquatic Centre in Stratford.
Rachel Wedderburn takes her seven-year-old daughter to the diving club.
She said: “They are taking away something that the borough has benefited from for years.
“It will be nice for the children to use the Olympic pool, but we want this to come back to the borough, with everything that it had before.
“We haven’t had access to any plans at all. Nobody who actually uses the diving facilities has been consulted.”
Jake Ferguson’s son was on a waiting list for five years before joining the club and says that the board is his “big thrill”.
He said: “It is an outrage that the council is ignoring the needs of young people. I am really upset about it.”
Waltham Forest Council has been asked to comment.
To sign the petition started by parents, click here.
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